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Bus driver in Syracuse crash charged with negligent homicide

BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) - A bus driver was charged with criminally negligent homicide on Monday stemming from a September crash into a train bridge in upstate New York that killed four passengers.

John Tomaszewski, 60, who lives in New Jersey, enter a plea of not guilty to the four counts in Onondaga County Court, his attorney Scott Brenneck said. He also pleaded not guilty to charges of failure to obey a traffic control device.

Tomaszewski is accused of failing to heed several warning signs before driving the two-tier bus into a low train bridge on a highway off Interstate 81 in Syracuse, N.Y. on September 11, 2010.

The crash killed four of the 28 passengers traveling to Toronto from Philadelphia.

Brenneck said his client was released on his own recognizance, in part because of his ongoing treatment for injuries including a brain injury he sustained in the early morning crash.

"The judge and the district attorney recognized that he has ongoing medical problems. It wasn't a contentious issue," he said.

Judge Anthony Aloi set the next court date for June 3.

Criminally negligent homicide is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

"It's a tragic, tragic event," Brenneck said.

(Reporting by Neale Gulley, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Peter Bohan)

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